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Index of All Children's Stories

Kids' Ireland Library

Sean & The Selkie
by Grainne Rowland

The sun was just about to set. Three tired fishermen plodded along the narrow coast road to their homes. They were famished for their evening meals and looking forward to a bit of a rest.

Sean was the first around a bend in the road. He stopped so suddenly that the others bumped into him.

"Shhh!" Sean whispered. "Look!"

The three stared at the most beautiful woman they had ever seen. She sat on the rocks combing her long red hair.

"Who is she?" asked one. "I've never seen her before."

Sean answered, "She's got to be a selkie. Look, there's her skin lying on the rock beside her."

Patrick whispered, "You're right. Since I was a young lad, people have told stories of the selkies, the seal people. But this is the first time I've ever seen one."

Sean crept forward and made a quick grab; he stood up with what looked like a seal's skin. He held it tightly with both hands.

The woman looked up with a sad expression on her face.

"Will you not give back my skin?" she asked sadly.

"No," said Sean. "I am the only man in the village without a wife. I know selkies make the best wives. You will be my wife."

"I will miss the sea if I come with you," she said. "But as long as you keep my skin, I must stay with you."

"You may come to the sea whenever you wish," said Sean. "But I will keep your skin."


Sean was married three days later, and his two friends were at the wedding. No one but the three knew that Sean's wife was a selkie. As for Sean, he locked the selkie's skin in a strong chest and kept the key on a chain around his neck.

Sean's marriage was a good one. His fortunes improved as soon as he was married. He soon owned his own fishing fleet, and his two old fishing friends worked for him. His wife gave him three strong sons and two beautiful daughters. Sean was very happy.

Sean's wife spent as much time as she could by the sea. She loved especially to sit by the sea on a night with a full moon. It was then she met her own people, the seal people, who came to console her on her fate among humans. Often, after they left, she would weep. How she missed her own people!

After many, many years, Sean decided that he was so rich that his family must move to a bigger, grander house. As they were all stepping into an elegant carriage to go to the new mansion, Sean's wife went once more into the house to take a last look around. In one corner, she noticed something that looked like a small pile of rubbish.

Curious, she knelt down to see what it was; her heart began to beat faster. It was an old chest, rotting with age! Could it be? She quickly searched through it. There it was! Her skin! Her heart singing, she took it, ran out the door and raced down to the sea. As she reached the sea, she heard Sean chasing after her and shouting his love. But, before he could catch up, she threw on her skin. In front of his eyes, she changed back into her seal form and then swam far out to sea. She was never seen again.

Images:
Old chest from Google images
Image Credit: Macaw-Frey


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Sun, Oct 1, 2017


Hallowe'en Customs

In Ireland long ago, there were no pumpkins. For Hallowe'en, the people would carve out a turnip. Immigrants to America brought this tradition with them, but they quickly discovered that a big, bright orange pumpkin made a much better "Jack O' Lantern!" Other customs they brought with them were games such as Snap Apple and Ducking or Bobbing for Apples. Irish children didn't go Tricking or Treating as we know it; but they did receive gifts of apples and nuts from their friends and relatives. They also enjoyed eating Colcannon, a dish made from potatoes and cabbage, and for dessert, they often had apple dumplings or Stampy cakes made from potatoes and flavored with sugar, caraway seeds and cream.
Carved Turnip from University of British Columbia


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"No man ever wore a cravat as nice, as his own child's arm around his neck."
- Irish Proverb


Filmed on the beautiful and moody West Coast of Ireland, this is a tale of a girl who discovers that her family has been touched by myth and magic. What's remarkable about this movie is that it's not told as a cute fantasy for children, but as a straightforward, unsentimental story. That gives the film an understated charm that is completely absorbing in its atmosphere and subtle tone.
Edited and adapted from a review by Jeff Shannon.
Click here for Roan Inish


Karan Casey, formerly with Ireland's noted group Solas, performs a re-telling of the myth that inspired the moving family film, "The Secret of Roan Inish." Using traditional Irish instruments; uilleann pipes, the low whistle, the concertina, and the violin, as well as some of the purest, sweetest voices ever heard on a children's recording, the Seal Maiden is a wonderful bonus for parents who want their children to enjoy magical, imaginative stories and authentic Irish music.
Click here for Seal Maiden


A Child's Treasury of Irish Rhymes
Compiled by Alice Taylor

This playful collection of poetry is culled from Taylor's childhood memories. It whisks readers' imaginations to the Emerald Isle, and in the tradition of Irish lore, fairies, elves and mischievous shoemakers flit magically among the pages.
Click here for Children's Rhymes.



 

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